The crime scene:
At first glance, everything appeared undisturbed. Shaping minds, touching hearts. Check, check.
Upon further investigation, however, all was not clearly right here:
Where are the red flags? They were between the light blue and purple flags when I last looked and now they're ALL GONE.
BUSTED. Suspect was apprehended. He maintained his innocence, despite incontrovertible evidence. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to In School Suspension.
The victim is coping as best she can what with the Post-Its being ALL UNEVEN AND WRONG AND EVERYTHING IS RUINED FOREVER.
Honestly, I don't know how I can be expected to shape minds and/or touch hearts under these conditions.
It's the end of the first quarter, so I graded journals on Friday. The following are some excerpts that I thought you may enjoy.
On the topic "What are you looking forward to about being an adult?"
I will be a good driver. I will be a good parent. I will get a priecing on my bully bottom.
I can cleen my own room (Some parent is clearly doing it wrong.)
you could choose your male or female (Choose a male or female to date/marry? Choose to be male or female? I don't know and more importantly, I'm not asking)
And on the topic "What grade should you get in my class? Why?"
I should get 100. I am go at English.
Finally, I give you some inventive spelling. Extra points to the first person to tell me what word this is supposed to be:
Oh, fine. I may not have gotten it either without context. Here's the sentence:
I don't get in cherobul.
Got it? I won't even make you raise your hand and wait to be called on.
I went to a seminar today that was really good. It's so invigorating to listen to someone really well-informed and passionate about a topic speak on it. Particularly, in my case, when it's about what I can do to better understand and help my kids and I leave with a bunch of ideas that I have to write down before I forget them. Most of these training things are not nearly so inspirational and/or useful. I love it when one is.
I love it when some of my kids stop outside my door on their way to another class to wave to me. And equally, if not more so, when kids who would sooner die than acknowledge me in the hall are bursting to tell me a story as soon as they get into my classroom.
And in non-school items, we have:
Chipotle's chicken burrito bowl
Glee (the TV show, not the emotion, although I suppose I'm for that as well)
my new red fleece from Target
a grilled cheese with
dipping sauce tomato soup
Liz Lemon ("Another successful interaction with a man!")
Raspberry Pomegranate Michelob Ultra
college t-shirt Fridays which mean that I get to wear jeans and don't even have to think about what to wear with them
Your turn. Oh come on, I haven't done one of these in weeks. Surely you've got some lovable stuff to list for us.
I make no secret of my belief that it is your right, nay your responsibility as a citizen, to speak out when you think your elected officials are doing the wrong things. You should feel free to use avenues such as your Facebook status updates to do so. Just one thing I ask of you.
APPLY SOME DAMN COMMON SENSE.
No, President Obama is not going to sign away our sovereignty as a nation to enter into a world government under the guise of a global warming treaty. Even if you imagine that our President is such a radical lunatic nutjob that he'd want to do such a thing, let's all think back to social studies and remember that a treaty has to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. Then let's take a deep breath. Perhaps we could also consider the mind-blowing impossibility of uniting all countries in the world under one government. That should calm us down regarding that possibility, no?
No, passing any sort of government-sponsored health care plan will not turn us into [name of developing nation with a despotic ruler]. The word "socialist" is being thrown around and terrifying people all over. I found it a little startling when, as a college freshman, I heard it used in the names of political parties in Europe. But...socialism! Totalitarian regimes! Communism! I don't know the difference! See, but there is one. Even if a true socialist health care plan were being seriously considered (it's not), its passage would not turn us into a third-world dictatorship. Democracy and socialism are not opposites. Ask pretty much anybody in Western Europe. Nary a communist dictatorship among them.
Also, don't tell anybody, but we've had socialism in this country for years! The government uses everybody's tax dollars to provide a vital service that, but for government intervention, much of the population wouldn't be able to afford. Do you know what it is? Public schools! And yet, here we are, the world's oldest continually-operating democracy. Retroactive panic on this issue seems silly, no?
(Note: you don't want to get into it with me regarding having to pay for public schools that you don't use unless you want to justify your interest in creating a permanent underclass in this country of people who produce generation after generation of illiterate children due to inability to pay for school and/or homeschool their children due to their own complete lack of education. Whether you use the public schools or not, you benefit from living in a society where everyone has access to basic education. No, really. You do.)
I was, as you know, no fan of the most recent President Bush. I thought he made terrible decisions. But at no point did I think or say that he had a nefarious agenda to bring down America. I was able to disagree with the way he went about it without oh, say, labeling him the anti-Christ (or, as I have also seen, the anti-John the Baptist figure to the coming anti-Christ). I think he was trying, albeit in a way with which I vehemently disagreed, to do what was best. Perhaps we could start from this assumption regarding the current president.
I am not telling you that you have to like President Obama (or that you're unamerican for opposing the president, as was suggested to me during the Bush administration) or that you should support health care reform. I am asking you, when you see that YouTube video informing you of our impending national demise, to remember that there are checks and balances. Try to keep things logical and respectful. Ease off the Hitler references and the caps lock key.
OR ELSE OBAMA'S FASCIST ROBOT FLYING MONKEY MINIONS WILL EAT ALL OF OUR FACES UNTIL WE DIE!!!!!!
"Miss," she asked at the beginning of eighth period, "How does it feel to be a teacher?"
A lot of words went through my head...
the story continued as written on a brochure for my teaching program
...challenging, empowering, dynamic, rewarding, yes at times even overwhelming. I thought of how nervous I was on my first day of school, all of those little faces looking to me, their teacher! I wondered whether all of the long hours were paying off. Was I reaching all of my students? Was I having the impact on them that I had hoped? One thing I knew for sure, my students were having an impact on me. I had learned so much from them already!
My student was waiting, so I just said the most honest word that came from my heart.
"Wonderful," I said. "It feels wonderful to be a teacher." She smiled and went back to work. It was the kind of moment I had dreamed of when I started my journey toward teaching.
the story continued as written for this blog
...and I said the first one that seemed appropriate to say out loud.
"Tiring," I said. She kept talking about something and I went back to trying to get sight words written on the board so we could get started reading them together.
I had only stopped in the first place because I find that ignoring the "Miss!" leads to auto-repeat with volume escalation. "Miss! MISS! MIIIIISSSSSSSS!" It haunts my dreams.
[Disclaimer: Not only was it the last period of the day, but my eighth period class and this student in particular work my last nerve. She had shouted this out, despite the vast amount of time we continually spend on the skill of raising our hands and being called on before speaking. A student asking politely at an opportune moment would get a more positive answer.]
I had this Old Navy gift card from my birthday that I obviously needed to spend. So I went over there yesterday and found that they were also having a sale. Score!
I bought a couple of sweaters, two long-sleeved v-neck t-shirts, and a Packers thermal from the Boys section.
Oh, and some green pants. They were on clearance, fit pretty well, and are even not too long for me to wear with boots without hemming them. Plus they are very soft. On the down side, I have no idea what to wear with them. Which is where you come in.
What do I wear with these pants? Bearing in mind that pretty much every shirt I own is solid-colored. Old Navy seems to be suggesting white. Which would work, but I don't own a lot of white or off-white since I'm pretty pasty and it kind of blends. Do you have any suggestions for me, Internet?
I also bought these this weekend.
I don't have any questions about these. I know exactly what I'll wear with them and no, it's not the green pants. I show them to you only because I think they're really very pretty and I won't have nearly enough opportunity to show them off in person.
I was sick on Wednesday. It started early Tuesday morning with what I assumed was the lamest hangover of all time. I had two beers while watching football Monday night. I hadn't eaten since 12:30 and was well into the first beer by the time my wings arrived, so I thought maybe the two beers had just hit me bizarrely hard.
By the end of the school day on Tuesday when I felt no better, I thought perhaps this was an actual non-self-inflicted illness. (Unless you consider any illness I get to be self-inflicted on the grounds that I choose to work with children, in which case, you'd have a point.) So I made sure to update the seating charts in my Emergency Substitute Plans binder and to leave the binder on the front table for just in case I should have a sub.
Wednesday morning was indeed pretty ugly, so I put in for a sub online, including instructions that the Emergency Substitute Plans binder was on the front table. I texted my boss a heads up that I'd be out and then I went back to sleep. Until 2pm.
I felt better this morning, so I went to work. And thank goodness.
I arrived to a full page of angry scrawling on the instruction page of the Emergency Substitute Plans binder. He went on and on about how THERE ARE NO PACKETS and THE PACKETS SHOULD BE IN PLAIN SIGHT and I WENT THROUGH YOUR DESK AND FOUND ONE LOOSE PACKET BUT I DON'T KNOW WHICH CLASS IT IS FOR. He explained that he had a teacher aide make copies for all of the classes because HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO although the teacher aide COLLATED AND STAPLED THEM BACKWARD. (This was a group of random worksheets, so there would have been no actual forward or backward.)
It becomes clear from the scrawling that at some point he discovered the packets I left for him. Cleverly hidden behind the tabs numbered by class period. He had even turned to these tabs to find the seating charts, but neglected to turn that one page to find the packets directly behind them. What could he have thought all of that paper was separating that seating chart from the next tab? We'll never know.
I found out that my boss had stopped in during third period to find out how it was going and was greeted by him shouting at her about how I hadn't left any plans. She showed him where everything was located and suggested (somewhat firmly, I think) that he ask for help in the future rather than freak out. At that point, he started writing me notes about how he had not previously been able to find them because my INSTRUCTIONS WERE UNCLEAR. He took it upon himself to root around in my desk to find a red pen with which to underline that.
He'd later point out that one of my students needed a lot of help. Well, yes. Being mentally retarded will have that effect. And he wrote up another student for excessive talking during class. Seriously? It's a class of six kids. And the worst problem was one of them talking. I cannot feel that this man has much of a future in substitute teaching. Or any business being in it at present.
On the upside, the worst critique of him that my students offered was to call him "weird".
On the downside, one of my students told me that I looked pretty today. Which, yes, sounds nice. But given that I went this morning with a look that could be most aptly named "Stay Back!" I have to feel that her having said it today renders void all of the times she previously said it to me. It can clearly bear no actual relation to how I look that day.
And then some of my students talked in class! And needed help! The nerve!
Packer met Brett when he was young, wild, and reckless. Things were rough at first, but Packer knew that he had potential, so she stuck with him. It turned into a long and, though volatile at times, wonderful relationship overall. Packer saw Brett through his drug addiction. Brett took Packer everywhere she had always wanted to go.
After many years, Brett thought that maybe he didn't want to be in a relationship anymore. He couldn't decide. Packer didn't know from one year to the next whether he would stay or go. After several years of this, he announced that he was leaving. Maybe Packer pushed him toward this decision, so tired was she of his wavering. What happened in the privacy of their relationship can't be known or understood by the rest of us, but the result was that Brett left, telling everyone that it was of his own accord. He would miss her, but he had to go.
Packer was, of course, devastated. Eventually, she moved on with a new guy named Aaron. He wasn't nearly so dazzling as Brett had been, but he was reliable. Aaron she could count on to stick around.
But then Brett reappeared. "I wasn't ready to leave! I miss you! Take me back!" he cried.
Packer considered this. She did miss Brett. She wanted to take him back, but there was Aaron. Dear, sweet Aaron to whom she had pledged her commitment. If she cast him aside to take Brett back, how long would Brett stay? A year later, she could have lost them both. So Packer refused Brett.
Spurned, Brett moved to New York and took up with somebody new. It was strange for Packer to see Brett with someone else, but she had moved on and supposed that he should do the same. Brett's new relationship didn't last though and his anger toward Packer burned ever more brightly. If she wouldn't take him back, then he would show her. He'd date her sister, Minne. The sister Packer had always hated.
Minne had an equal hatred of Brett, but the sisters were rivals and she knew that it would drive Packer crazy to see her with Brett. She wanted all of the good things that her sister had gotten from Brett.
"You did this to yourself," Brett would tell Packer. "You made me leave."
Yes, she had a lot of good memories with Brett. He would always represent some of the best years of her life. But he was gone. He'd left. She was with Aaron now and she'd find a way to be hopeful about their future together. After all, there were good things happening in their relationship.
All they needed was an offensive line and a decent running game and it would be a match made in heaven.
I've been trying for a couple of days to get around to writing about having seen Ingrid Michaelson perform in Austin on Monday night. The thing is, I didn't get home from Austin until 1 am. And because I am old and have a day job that is tiring on its own, I am still not fully recovered, sleep-wise. Just ask the interpreter upon whom I accidentally unleashed The Bitchy Stare of Death when she was having a loud personal conversation with another interpreter mere feet from where I was working with a highly distractible student. Whoops! I like to think that a well-rested me could have better handled that situation.
Anyway, how about if I do the actual writing bit tomorrow(ish) and instead tonight offer you this YouTube video of a live version of The Chain? (I chose the one with a still photo rather than video since the camera work on the other options was seasickness-inducing.) The vocals at the end are really quite stunning. It's been running through my head for a couple of days now and I'm still not tired of it.